eBucks, FNB’s rewards programme, has signed a new spend partnership with online fashion retailer Zando.
Zando has enjoyed significant growth since its launch on 23 January 2012. “In the short time that Zando has been an eBucks partner, we have seen that fashion is a category in which eBucks’ members enjoy spending their eBucks,” says Jolande Duvenage, eBucks’ CEO.
Peter Allerstorfer, Zando’s MD and co-founder, believes the South African market has only begun to scratch the surface of the potential for ecommerce within the fashion industry, and the company has already opened a new, bigger warehouse in Ndabeni, Western Cape.
“The biggest concern that South Africans have with purchasing fashion items online is that the item will not be the correct size, and if it is incorrect, whether they will be able to return it, and at what cost. We have eased this concern with our free delivery offering, where our drivers wait for customers to try on their purchases. If they want to return it, the customer simply hands it back to the delivery person who will return the goods to us, at no cost to the customer.
“Embracing online fashion shopping requires a mind shift, which we are sure will happen over time as our customers grow to appreciate the convenience and value for money that we offer,” Allerstorfer says.
While fashion retailers have used the same strategy online as they did in their bricks and mortar fashion outlets, Allerstorfer believes that if retailers are going to be successful online, they need to ease consumers’ concerns about the safety of online shopping to build trust on all levels.
“South Africans have historically been slow to embrace online shopping in general, compared to the likes of seasoned online shoppers like the Americans,” he says. “This is largely due to South Africa’s low Internet penetration rate, consumers who have not yet experienced online shopping and the perception that online shopping is not secure.”
However, perceptions and behaviour have started to change, making the South African market one to watch in terms of future growth in the online retail sector, he says.
Duvenage agrees, and says that eBucks has seen a significant increase in the number of members using their rewards currency to purchase items online, with a double digit increase year-on-year in its own online shop.
“E-commerce in South Africa is definitely on the rise, and South Africans seem to be more comfortable purchasing online, especially when it comes to fashion, which has shown an upsurge in recent months,” says Duvenage.
Another way to build trust among customers and quell security concerns is to offer a variety of payment methods. For example, Zando offers customers multiple options to pay for their purchase including credit, cheque, electronic transfer, cash on delivery, PayPal and most recently, eBucks.